Petaluma man rallies SMART rail neighbors to protest crossing costs

  • Glen Ghilotti is hosting a town hall meeting to rally his neighbors against having to pay for new railroad crossings for public safety due to SMART. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

A Petaluma man locked in a dispute with the SMART commuter rail system is hoping to draw track-side neighbors from all along the route to a meeting tonight to consider how to work together.

Contractor Glen Ghilotti is at odds with SMART over how to pay for a new private railroad crossing for his business and several other nearby properties in the vicinity of Landing Way, a project that could cost the neighbors at least $625,000.

Ghilotti has asked track neighbors and politicians from Sonoma and Marin counties to come to a public meeting at 6:30 tonight at Rooster Run Golf Course in Petaluma. The point will be to share stories and see if there is a way for individual landowners to cooperate as a counterweight to the legal and administrative muscle of SMART, he said.

His invitation flier says SMART is "pushing expenses like maintenance, construction, upgrades and safety to property owners."

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